James “Jesus Glasses” Corbett: Update 10 Nov ‘09

OUR last update on this case was here: Update 28 Oct ‘09, in which we informed you that everyone was appealing the trial court’s decision, and that WorldNetDaily had taken up the cause of the creationist kid who sued his teacher.

We earlier reported, somewhat gleefully, that although the creationist kid had been partially successful in suing Corbett, he had also sued the school board which was found not liable. Therefore the court ruled that because same lawyers represented both Corbett and the school board, the kid had to pay legal fees to Corbett’s lawyers for their victory on behalf of the school board. But as you may recall, that fee award had been made by the court clerk’s office, and it wasn’t final until the judge approved it.

Here are some excerpts from Judge tentatively denies awarding $378,519 to teacher’s defense team, which appears in the Orange County Register. The bold font was added by us:

A federal judge has tentatively denied awarding $378,519 in attorneys’ fees to the defense team for high school teacher James Corbett, sued by a student two years ago for his anti-Christian classroom rhetoric.

Let’s read on:

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna said in a six-page preliminary ruling that although the Capistrano Unified School District was not liable for Corbett’s actions, Capistrano was not eligible to recover any attorneys’ fees because student Chad Farnan’s lawsuit against the school district was not simply “a baseless, vexatious claim,” as Corbett’s attorneys had argued.

Here’s a link to the court’s ruling (pdf file). We continue:

“C.F. (Chad Farnan) set out to prove a constitutional violation, and he did,” [Judge] Selna said. “The vagaries of the law in this area, from which Corbett benefitted [sic], do not undermine the substantive validity of C.F.’s establishment clause claim, nor do they render his position frivolous.”

Corbett “benefited”? Here’s more:

Selna issued the tentative decision Friday from his Santa Ana courtroom. A hearing had been scheduled for today to give both parties an opportunity to respond and for the judge to finalize his decision, but the hearing was postponed at the last minute and has not been rescheduled.

How would you like to be in Corbett’s shoes? This thing is a never-ending nightmare; and we imagine that the creationist kid is rapturous over the grief he’s causing his teacher. Moving along:

If the tentative ruling becomes final, it could have bearing on last month’s decision to award $12,631 in court-related fees to Corbett’s defense team. The school district and the teachers union applied for and were awarded these fees by a federal court clerk, as part of what is typically a routine procedural matter.

But Farnan’s [the creationist kid] attorneys already have filed a motion with Selna seeking to reverse the decision by Milli Borgarding, the deputy in charge of the Santa Ana division of the U.S. District Court clerk’s office. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Nothing ever seems to get resolved here. One last excerpt:

Separately, both sides have appealed the entire case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Corbett is seeking to be exonerated; Farnan is seeking a stronger, broader judgment against Corbett.

What does the kid want — an old-fashioned witch burning? We’ve been following this case, and we think that’s certainly possible.

But because the kid is obviously a litigious chap, we hasten to add that although we’re aware of his position in this case, which we think is constitutionally ridiculous, we don’t actually know the lad and we have no intention of defaming him. Therefore, we’ll keep our opinion of him private. You may draw your own conclusions, dear reader.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “James “Jesus Glasses” Corbett: Update 10 Nov ‘09

  1. Gabriel Hanna

    Therefore, we’ll keep our opinion of him private.

    I won’t; he’s an ass. I think his teacher is as well, judging from the comments he left here, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to be sued.

    But it’s nice to know that California’s affairs are in such good order that the courts have time to turn their attention to this matter.

  2. Gabriel Hanna says: “But it’s nice to know that California’s affairs are in such good order that the courts have time to turn their attention to this matter.”

    This is a novel case, and the court had no choice in its being filed. But if the thing gets bungled, it will encourage more of the same. So if the judge enjoys helping creationist kids, he and his colleagues will be spending a lot more of their time on this sort of thing.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    This is a novel case, and the court had no choice in its being filed.

    They could have dismissed it. Just because it’s a new situation doesn’t mean a court has to involve itself; and a summary dismissal would have been a precedent of a kind.

  4. Gabriel Hanna says: “They could have dismissed it. Just because it’s a new situation doesn’t mean a court has to involve itself …”

    It’s not that easy when there’s a claim that someone violated the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Gotta at least consider the evidence. If, however, the plaintiff had complained that his rights under the Mars-Uranus treaty were being violated, yeah, that could be tossed out.

  5. It’s not that easy when there’s a claim that someone violated the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Gotta at least consider the evidence.

    No, they can dismiss it out of hand as being of a waste of their time, that is part of how the legal system works.

    The laywers file, right. They show up. One side argues for dismissal, the other attempts to rebut. The court dismisses. Very simple. They are under no obligation to hear every case, Constitutional rights or not. Everybody thinks they have a Constitutional right to something or other.